The letter this week disclosing the seizure of telephone information involving the Occasions reporters — Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eric Lichtblau and Michael S. Schmidt — had hinted on the existence of the separate combat over knowledge that will present whom that they had been involved with over electronic mail.
The letters mentioned the federal government had additionally acquired a court docket order to grab logs of their emails, however “no information had been obtained,” offering no additional particulars. However with the lifting of the gag order, Mr. McCraw mentioned he had been freed to clarify what had occurred.
Prosecutors within the workplace of the USA lawyer in Washington had obtained a sealed court docket order from a Justice of the Peace choose on Jan. 5 requiring Google to secretly flip over the data. However Google resisted, apparently demanding that The Occasions be informed, as its contract with the corporate requires.
The Justice Division continued to press the request after the Biden administration took over, however in early March prosecutors relented and requested a choose to allow telling Mr. McCraw. However the disclosure to him got here with a nondisclosure order stopping him from speaking about it to different folks.
Mr. McCraw mentioned it was “beautiful” to obtain an electronic mail from Google telling him what was happening. At first, he mentioned, he didn’t know who the prosecutor was, and since the matter was sealed, there have been no court docket paperwork he might entry about it.
The subsequent day, Mr. McCraw mentioned, he was informed the title of the prosecutor — a profession assistant United States lawyer in Washington, Tejpal Chawla — and opened negotiations with him. Ultimately, Mr. Chawla agreed to ask the choose to change the gag order so Mr. McCraw might talk about the matter with The Occasions’s common counsel and the corporate’s outdoors attorneys, after which with two senior Occasions executives: A.G. Sulzberger, the writer, and Meredith Kopit Levien, the chief govt.
“We made clear that we meant to go to court docket to problem the order if it was not withdrawn,” Mr. McCraw mentioned. Then, on June 2, he mentioned, the Justice Division informed him it could ask the court docket to quash the order to Google on the identical time that it disclosed the sooner telephone information seizure, which he had not identified about.